By Doug Roorbach
For The Herald Bulletin
MIDDLETOWN, Ind. —
In what was billed as a shootout between the two top scorers in the state, Saturday night’s Shenandoah Sectional championship turned on a defensive adjustment.
Trailing by three at the start of the fourth quarter, the Winchester Lady Falcons extended their defensive pressure and started trapping the Frankton Lady Eagles against the sidelines, turning the momentum and going on to claim a 56-49 win and the sectional championship.
“When they pushed us out on the floor a little bit at half court, our young kids got a little tentative,” said Dean Riddle, Frankton’s head coach, “I thought we had them where we wanted them, because they had to stretch their defense. When they stretched their defense, more (open players on the weak side) were going to be available, but we got tentative.”
Frankton’s Kelsey Key came into the game as the leading scorer in the state, and led her team again with 23 points and six rebounds. Winchester’s Jill Morrison, Indiana’s No. 2 scorer, rang up 33 points and had five rebounds.
“Morrison is a great player,” Riddle said, “The most disappointing thing was that she had six points on offensive rebounds — other than that I really thought that we did a good job on her. Katie (Key, who guarded Morrison most of the game) played her heart out, and I thought that hurt her at the offensive end a little bit.”
Katie Key was the only other player in double figures, scoring 12 points. However, she also had five of Frankton’s 12 turnovers.
Frankton took the lead at the end of the first quarter on a Kelsey Key buzzer-beater and held it into the fourth quarter. In the first 90 seconds of the final frame, the teams traded baskets as the lady Eagles clung to a 41-40 lead.
The score remained 41-40 for the next 2:30 as the teams traded turnovers and the tension mounted. With five minutes left, Morrison scored to give Winchester the lead and ignite the crowd, then made another basket to ratchet up the noise even further.
“They were fanning us to the sidelines and we just couldn’t get to the corner and get going vertical,” said Riddle, We’ve got some young kids out there, some freshmen and sophomores, and I thought we were a little apprehensive. It wasn’t for lack of effort. They played their hearts out.”
Frankton finishes the season with an 18-7 record and the Central Indiana Conference championship.